Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Big Pharoah speaks...

...and he says "let my people go."

Right around the time of the build-up to the Iraqi war, the first Iraqi blog came into being, Salam Pak's, now defunct. It was fascinating to read an actual Iraqi's words, emanating almost magically from behind Saddam's iron curtain. From the start, Salam wasn't any sort of generic Iraqi, he was his own extremely unique person with an instantly recognizable voice, sardonic and clever, funny and iconoclastic.

Since the war there's been a proliferation of Iraqi bloggers with a huge readership hungry for their unique points of view. My own personal favorites, Iraq the Model and Free Iraqi, eloquent and stirring, are on my blogroll. Sometimes I think of them as the Patrick Henrys and Thomas Paines of their time and place.

Big Pharoah is another of these distinctive blog voices from the Middle East, this time from Egypt, where he seems to be the only blogger writing in English. Fascinating stuff. Despite the distance and the exotic locale, one of the things that struck me when I first read his site last spring was something he and I seemed to have in common: he reported being surrounded by people who don't share many of his political viewpoints.

Yesterday Big Pharaoh wrote some words that made my heart glad. Maybe they'll do the same for you. Listen:

something is beginning to happen in Egypt. In fact, something is beginning to happen all over the region, from the revolution of the purple fingers in Iraq to Lebanon's anti-Syria red demonstrations today. The enemies of freedom as well know that something is happening and they are trying to stop it.

Something amazing does seem to be stirring, the power of freedom. And recently freedom's enemies actually appear to be getting weaker--although that story is far from over, and probably never will be over.

It seems those long-ago framers of our Declaration of Independence really were onto something big, something well-nigh universal. Isn't it ever and ever more "self-evident" that people desire liberty--as much now as they did in 1776, perhaps even more?

Although, of course, not every single person on the face of the earth wants it. Some are afraid of it--afraid for themselves, or, more commonly, afraid for others--but that's another story, for another essay.


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